THE PARENTS of a cancer-stricken school girl must raise more than £300,000 in less than a month for life-saving treatment abroad.
Nine-year-old Mackenzie Furniss will die from aggressive tumours unless she can receive pioneering immunotherapy in Germany.
The treatment for rare cancer neuroblastoma is not available in the UK and her parents are desperate to raise the cash.
They have collected £35,000 but are falling short of the target with just a few weeks before Mackenzie is due to fly to Germany.
Brave Mackenzie, a huge One Direction fan, painted the boyband’s logo and names on her head before fulfilling her dream of watching the group in concert.
Mother Kimberly, 29, lives in Sauchie, Clackmannanshire, with her husband Jason, 39 and three children, explained: “The treatment in Germany is at a trial stage.
“The UK is meant to be doing a similar trial next year but we can’t wait that long.
“At the moment there is absolutely nothing the UK can do for her, so you’re kind of up against a brick wall. As much as doctors want to do something, they just can’t.”
Her only hope is expensive immunotherapy treatment, which can boost her chance of survival from 5% to 80%.
Mackenzie was first diagnosed with stage four high risk neuroblastoma, a cancer which specifically attacks the nervous system, in October 2009 – aged five.
Fewer than 100 children in the UK are diagnosed each year with the deadly disease.
After four years of treatment and a brief recovery, she suffered a relapse in November 2012.
The total cost of the treatment is £300,000, but the family also need to money for flights and accommodation so are aiming for £350,000 altogether.
Mother Kimberly added: “So far we have £35,000 out of the £350,000.
“We’re so grateful to everyone who has donated so far, but the money is simply not going up as significantly as we need it to.
“We live in a small community and it can only go so far, we need bigger contributions to help us get this life-saving treatment.
“We’re panicking but we try not to let Mackenzie see that, because then she’ll start panicking.
“She realises she could die but she’s a fighter and we’re determined to beat this.
“I know that Vanessa Riddle had quite big donations from companies. Tennents donated £25,000 towards her treatment.
“We’re hoping that big donors now come forward for us.
“The treatment is scheduled for the 30th of September but they want the money be the end of August in full and we simply don’t have it.
“If she doesn’t get the treatment, I don’t know what will happen. She understands that she might die but she smiles and remains positive.
“When she was cleared at the age of seven, she said to me, its great that I didn’t die. She is older than her years.
The pioneering treatment saved the life of 11-year old Vanessa Riddle, of Ayrshire, who is now 100% cancer-free.
Mackenzie’s family’s fundraising efforts are being supported by the Neuroblastoma Children’s Cancer Alliance UK (NCCA).
Chief Executive of the charity, Bettina Bungay-Balwah said: “It’s so important now that people really get behind Mackenzies appeal, there is not a moment to lose.”
Established in 2006, the charity has helped 21 children access treatment that is only available abroad, while also backing research to bring new treatments to the UK.
Mackenzie recorded a video of herself dancing to One Direction’s number one hit ‘Live While We’re Young’ whilst in hospital waiting for chemotherapy.
Boy band member Harry Styles saw the video and tweeted her dad Jason saying: “Hi Mate, my friend Will sent me this video. It’s amazing. Hope you’re well, get in touch.”
Mackenzie was elated when she saw Styles’ message and admitted that it helped her through a difficult week, when they were told that the chemotherapy wasn’t working.
Her dreams came true when she watched the group in concert in February this year. Dad Jason, made a stencil while her mum filled in the gaps with red paint so make sure she stood out.